Sugar crops are a major feedstock for renewable bioethanol production for use as a transportation fuel. Other feedstocks include starch-rich crops such as corn, wheat and cassava. Because it is a clean, affordable and low-carbon biofuel, ethanol from sugar crops has emerged as a leading renewable transportation fuel. Ethanol for fuel can be used in two ways:
There are several benefits often recognised from fuel ethanol use. These include
Brazil is the world leader in fuel ethanol production from sugarcane.
World fuel ethanol production and consumption reached new records in 2018. Global production in 2018 rose to 108.2 bln litres, up from 100.6 bln litres in 2017. This increase in output was the highest year-on-year change since 2010. Furthermore, it was the cane industry that has driven output higher while the previous large increments in output – in 2010 and 2014 – were driven by production changes in the US and the EU, where the industry is predominantly grains-based. The consumption side of the balance in 2018 trailed the production number by around 3 bln litres, at 105.3 bln litres. This difference is not surprising in light of Brazil’s huge increase in production in 2018/19, which only triggered an increase in demand from August/September onwards, leaving substantially more ethanol in stock at year-end. Stocks in Brazil were further increased by record volumes of imports from the US.
World Fuel Ethanol Production and Consumption (bln litres)
The increase in the consumption figure for “others” to 21.2 bln litres reflects an expansion in ethanol-blending across the globe, with many programmes benefitting from the availability of competitively-priced US export volumes during the year, as well as increasing government support for domestic fuel ethanol programmes.
More information can be found in the ISO Ethanol Yearbook